Unknown bidder forks out £468k for Michael Jordan's old Nike trainers

Unknown bidder forks out £468k for Michael Jordan's old Nike trainers

August 15, 2020

Net profit! Unknown bidder shells out £468,000 for Michael Jordan’s scruffy old Nike trainers

  • Nike Air Jordan 1 Highs are now most expensive trainers to be sold at auction
  • Michael Jordan wore them in 1985 when he dunked the ball so hard it shattered the glass backboard – a moment which has become iconic in sporting history
  • An unknown bidder purchased the shoes for £468,000 at auction in New York 

What would you pay for a pair of scruffy old trainers? Nothing at all, most of us would answer.

But an unknown bidder has just shelled out £468,000 for basketball shoes that have certainly seen better days.

The footwear in question does admittedly boast quite a sporting pedigree, having once adorned the feet of US basketball superstar Michael Jordan.

The Nike Air Jordan 1 Highs are now the most expensive pair of ‘sneakers’ to be sold at auction.

Jordan wore them during a 1985 exhibition match in Italy – when he dunked the ball so hard it shattered the glass backboard.

Jordan racked up 30 points while wearing the size 13.5 shoes, which are in the red and black colors of his Chicago Bulls team. 

The Nike Air Jordan 1 Highs worn by Michael Jordan when he shattered the backboard during an exhibition game in Italy in 1985 have sold for a record £468,000 at Christies in New York


The iconic moment in sporting history took place during an exhibition match in Italy in 1985

The force of Jordan’s slam dunk shattered the backboard as the ball went through the hoop

Opposing players were left showered in broken glass as Jordan celebrates his slam dunk

‘This is the original shoe with an actual piece of the backboard, a piece of glass, in the sole of the shoe,’ said Caitlin Donovan of Christie’s.

The previous record was set by another pair of Jordan’s shoes which sold for around £420,000 last May. 

The record setting sales highlight the soaring market value of objects identified with the retired basketball superstar since the release of ‘The Last Dance,’ an ESPN/Netflix documentary that chronicles the saga of Jordan and his Chicago Bulls.

Michael Jordan is considered to be the best basketball player in the history of the game, and became a global icon in the 1980s and 1990s, helping to raise the NBA’s profile around the world and the latest documentary renewed interest in his life. 

It also confirms that the lowly trainer now has a place of pride in the world of wealthy collectors alongside more traditional collectibles. 

In total, Christies sold nine pairs of Jordan’s shoes to celebrate his 14-year career with the team, with the the Air Jordan 1 Highs as the top lot.

The trainers are now the most expensive in the world, beating out a previous pair of trainers worn by the basketball superstar Michael Jordan which were sold for £420,000 last year

Christie’s described its recent auction as ‘the most comprehensive footwear record of Michael Jordan’s era-defining career with the Chicago Bulls ever to be offered in one sale.’ 

‘Put simply, Michael Jordan and his signature line of footwear set the foundation for modern basketball and the worldwide phenomenon of sneaker collecting,’ Christies said.

Carl Webb, a collector from Stoke-on-Trent who owns 170 pairs of vintage trainers, told the BBC’s Wake up to Money that it had a lot to do with nostalgia.

‘Some people collect stamps, some people collect books, for me it’s rare trainers… Knowing you are one of the only people who will have a certain model feels quite nice.’

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